Lamprais: Green Lump of Deliciousness

1 Oct

Lamprais, is one of the cornerstones of Dutch Burgher cuisine in Sri Lanka. The origin of the word remains unclear but it is thought to be the anglicized version of the original Dutch words – klomp (lump) rijst (rice). 

Traditional Lamprais consists of a mound of samba rice boiled in stock served with a piquant mixed- meat curry (chicken/beef/pork) accompanied by “frikkadels” (breaded meatballs), brinjal  pahè (deep fried eggplant cooked in a traditional sauce), blachan (a spicy shrimp paste), ash plantains and a side of seeni sambol (fried onions caramelised in sugar).

The entire meal is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed – allowing all the flavors to infuse together into the rice. When you open the banana leaf packet you can immediately smell the delicious aroma of the assortment of the spices blended deliciously together with the rice.  If you don’t fancy a mixed-meat curry you can choose to get your lamprais with a chicken curry instead !

Lamprais is commonly available throughout Sri Lanka – however it may not always be authentic as several variations of the dish exist and most don’t taste half as good as the original dish. Authentic lamprais can be quite rich hence it’s served in smaller portions reserved for special occasions so if you find yourself with a huge packet of lamprais – chances are it’s not really lamprais. Purists argue over what exactly constitutes lamprais – this is a never ending debate since everyone has their own version and variation of the dish.

Some of the best lamprais comes out from the home-kitchens of Burgher women using traditional lamprais recipes that have been passed down through generations. My personal recommendations of the best lamprais I have had so far in Colombo is:

  •   Perera & Sons
  •   Green Cabin
  •   Mrs Warusawithana’s Lamprais

So next time you find yourself in Sri Lanka make sure you try some Lamprais!

PS: You can check out Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation’s episode where he tries out authentic lamprais


2 Responses to “Lamprais: Green Lump of Deliciousness”

  1. Kamini October 6, 2011 at 1:40 PM #

    What an enjoyable and mouth-watering read this was! And the video was the icing on the cake; I really knew very little about the Dutch Burghers of Sri Lanka, leave alone anything about their cuisine.

    Yet another reason to pay a visit to this lovely country!

    A wonderful blog you have here – I’m looking forward to being a regular reader!

    • Food Across Borders October 9, 2011 at 8:33 PM #

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Hope you visit Sri Lanka soon and get to sample the cuisine 🙂

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